Det Som Engang Var, 7.56-8.58
by Nathan Hassall
It happened this time for well over three hours. I was awake all night staring at my ceiling and tried to block out what they had to say. Eventually I gave in, got up, put some slippers on and went outside. 8am. The riff extends from me and arpeggios up the side of my neighbor’s house before falling down the chimney and gutters. Never did learn any of their names.
If I close my eyes out here I can hear all the other noises. The streets are a drain pipe’s drip. Car exhausts funnel at me from a distant dual carriage way. Pubs are dim and empty bar the humming of fridges and freezers. Shops are shut. The streets are vapid save a few people. An elderly lady with half-blonde half-grey hair gabbles about something or nothing or whatever. Her tongue fizzes. Throat drones like she swallowed a beehive. Stands there for some time, transfixed by her own lack of language. A young couple passes her hand-in-hand. They are obviously not right for each other. Her blonde hair dipped purple is faded, deep green eyes gradually losing their wanderlust. Works hard in a local café and sometimes on painting commissions. Once he told her she needs a real job and arranged an interview that week for her to work in his uncle’s office. You’ll need to cover the snake tattoo on your arm, he said. His hair is clean-cut, crafted stubble on the surface of a bronzed face, tall-muscular build. Looks like an estate agent. Or a mummy’s boy. Perhaps both. Goes to the gym after work at 5.25pm for exactly one hour and fifteen minutes followed by a whey protein shake. Gets drunk on Friday evening with work colleagues. She sits alone and smoke weed even though she has quit. She scrolls through Facebook until she can’t keep her eyes open anymore. The couple release hands to walk around the woman in the centre of the path. They look at each other and go to speak at the same time. Their voices are HB pencils scribbling on cream-coloured sketch paper. Tongues thrash around their mouths as the elderly woman tries to make sense of all the spit. A voice-like breeze climbs their each of their torsos and enters their mouths and ears.
thick brush my tongue an adjacent language
I’m not sure anything can stop the notes floating in front of my face. They are bubbles. I try to prod them with my fingernail, only they get louder when I press into them. Sometimes demented whispers or shrieks score through the sound but they never quite get rid of it. It was distorts various is. Slightly sometimes changes. Goes never but it. Can’t unthink it. My words get caught in the sound:
shut up shut up shut up. I want to grab the sound and roll it out. The riff sometimes distances itself when I pretend the guitars are made out of pizza dough. S h u t u p s h u t u p s h u t u p
It’s inside my head and outside my head at the same time. Days pass by and I think of nothing else. Watch television. Read. Meditate. I see lights and words and I breathe deep but nothing resonates. You once said breathe in and out three or was it four times or you might have said stop breathing so here I am, thinking about music.
trumpet lung: an angel’s last spell
There was one morning I decided to make you breakfast if you promised to play the piano for me. I cracked an egg and the yolk split. We only had two eggs left. I said sorry. You laughed. I was reminded about the time we were on the beach and the sun sat on the horizon of the sea just about to disappear. You said it looked like an egg yolk and you closed one eye and pushed your finger toward it. You said you wanted to pop the sun just see what happened. Wanted a sea-gold apocalypse.
high tide drags the bodies in chicken yolk glow
I split an ice cube with a scalpel once, I say. Einstein split an atom with his mind once, you reply. I call you brave. Your eyes freeze over. Pluck them from your face, drop them on the floor and crush them under your foot. Point at the middle of your forehead: Who needs those eyes to see?
Later that evening, ice is still on the floor. I can see your breath particles roll inside and over themselves. You pick up the shards and reassemble them as best you can. It’s hard to look at you when you’re like this. I pick up the colourless rubix cube you told me I’d never play with when I bid on it on Ebay. You put your eyes back in their sockets and tell me that the world is contorted geometry. You tell me each note you hear now dances around reflective surfaces, each chopped into symmetrical honeycombs. I see them, too. They hit the wall and pop as the riff scrapes down the white paint. I can’t tell the difference between you the sound the room anymore. yousoundroom.
first ones up birdsong summons the solstice
Earth a giant ice cube. Sun a blast furnace. We used to orbit each other, you know. Space was so cold back then. I know. Look at my hands. They are a disgrace. You call me dunkelheit. I say what and you say go learn German. I try for two weeks and learn nothing. My hands hardly feel like my own anymore. Not sure we will ever understand each other.
Guitar strings wrap around my body and cut into my flesh. chained down a padlock rusts sliver